EXCELLENCE: Christopher Nolan has it.

by Micah Haley on May 1, 2012

Count me among those longing for a return to story-driven filmmaking. Some would follow that sentence with a lament, praying for the death of mega-budget studio tentpoles. But while it is true that some of last summer’s biggest movies disappointed, I’ve found equally weak storytelling in a slew of small independent films. Great stories can be told at any budget level. What does this have to do with Christopher Nolan? This: give an excellent storyteller a lot of money, and he will make more for you.

Exhibit A: Batman Begins

Budget: $150 million
Worldwide Gross: $372 million

Exhibit B: The Dark Knight

Budget: $185 million
Worldwide Gross: $1.001 billion

These numbers probably aren’t accurate. Even taken at face value, they only take into account theatrical revenue, ignoring marketing costs and downstream revenue such as premium cable runs, basic cable, DVD and Blu-Ray profits worldwide. In summary, Warner Bros has done quite well entrusting the Batman franchise to Christopher Nolan.

Side note: rumors during the third quarter of 2010 that the final installment to Nolan’s Batman trilogy would shoot in Louisiana, both within the film industry and on the internet. Even among local press, the rumors from a few websites were picked up. Scene received so many inquiries, we decided that a little rumor control was warranted. Several months later, a source within Warner Bros again confirmed to Scene that no decision had been made to shoot in Louisiana, thought locations had been firmed up in Los Angeles and the United Kingdom. In early April of 2011, Nolan confirmed that the third city would be Pittsburgh. It would have been great to have The Dark Knight Rises filming in Louisiana. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.

This morning, though, we got the first full length trailer of our consolation prize ( and Warner Bros’ next cash cow):

Exhibit C: The Dark Knight Rises

Budget: ?
Worldwide Gross: ?

My top ten list of most anticipated summer films now consists of The Dark Knight Rises, listed ten times. Might as well just hand Christopher Nolan my debit card. Sure, there are some less-than-great big-budget movies that barely have a premise, much less a plot. The Dark Knight Rises will not be one of them.